KU News Release


June 15, 2011
Contact: Kirsten Bosnak, Kansas Biological Survey, 785-864-6267

Tour of Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden set for June 18

LAWRENCE — The public is invited to a tour of the University of Kansas Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18.

Many new projects have been added to the site in the past year, including additional research plantings, a demonstration/show garden, a large shade structure and the KU Student Farm.

Greg Beverlin (left), a spring 2011 graduate from Hillsdale, and Bryn Fragua, a student at Haskell Indian Nations University and KU RISE Fellowship recipient, work in the research area at the medicinal garden.

Kelly Kindscher gives a tour at the garden to participants of KU's Mini College.

The medicinal garden, a project of KU’s Native Medicinal Plant Research Program, is the first of several KU Field Station sites on East 1600 Road in Douglas County, north of Highway 40. Both KU and Haskell Indian Nations University RISE Fellowship students are involved in maintenance and research at the garden.

Students in environmental studies, engineering, journalism, architecture, fine arts and geology all have taken part in projects at the garden. In addition, KU students, faculty and staff from many fields participate in the KU Student Farm at the same site.

“The research garden has become the public face and meeting ground for our medicinal plant program, as well as a gateway to the KU Field Station,” said Kelly Kindscher, senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey and head of the botany side of the Native Medicinal Plant Research Program. “We welcome multidisciplinary involvement and really enjoy the high level of student participation at the site. Visitors are very welcome.”

Features of the garden include:

Research plantings — A 50- by 260-foot space includes large beds of 25 species of native plants, including white sage, yarrow, blue wild indigo, butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, wild mint, beebalm, stinging nettle and others.

Demonstration/show garden — The new 70- by 80-foot garden, just inside the gate at the research garden, includes six themed beds of medicinal plants (Echinacea species, milkweed species, tea/scented plants, native edible plants, classical European medicinals and native plants that have been included in the U.S. Pharmacopeia and National Formulary). It is landscaped with native limestone boulders from a nearby area of the KU Field Station. It was planted on May 14 by volunteers, including many students.

Shade structure — At the center of the show garden, the shelter is built entirely from reclaimed lumber from Westar. Bruce Johanning of the KU Field Station provided design concepts and led the building process. Engineering graduate student Neil Steiner developed the design.

KU Student Farm — Now in its first year of open operation, the KU Student Farm is thriving as a community garden with more than 25 plots, plus young fruit trees. The farm was conceived through a class project by students in spring 2010. It is organized and run by four student coordinators. Among those coordinators is KU senior Kim Scherman, who works with the medicinal plant program and who will conduct research this summer on three West Coast student farms to identify factors that help build a successful student farm.

Natural dye garden — A new garden, primarily of native plants, is part of an independent study by KU fine arts student Neil Goss.

Another project in the works at the garden is a solar composting toilet being built by the student group Engineers Without Borders under the direction of Craig Adams, the J. L. Constant Distinguished Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. The latrine replicates those built by the group in several villages in Bolivia.

The garden is open to the public dawn to dusk.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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